Tag Archives: lettuce

Tofu-riffic Tacos!

Pickled red onions on a taco?!  Oh bay-bee!  The favor combination of the vinegar-y onions, creamy guacamole and the spicy, smoky sauce on the tofu is other-worldly good.  Like something I’ve never tasted or even imagined.  You may think you don’t like tofu, but after trying these tacos, you’ll be running to the store for more!  We came across this combo in a Denver restaurant called Fuel Cafe–a tricky place to find in an industrial part of the RINO district–click through the images on their page to get a feel for the place.   Well worth the journey for tacos like these.

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To get started, you’ll need to pickle a red onion.  It’ll need time to chill and be ready for your tacos.  You can make the pickled onion ahead of time.

ingredients for pickled onions

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced.

Slice the onions as thin as you can.

slice thin

Blanch the onions in boiling water for about 10-20 seconds.  You don’t want to blanch the color out–if you see it starting to fade it’s time to drain them!

blanch

Drain completely in a colander and return to the now empty but still warm blanching pot.

drain

Add the vinegar, sugar and salt along with enough water to just cover the onions.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.

add vinegar sugar salt water

Place onions and vinegar into a jar and chill.  The onions will turn a beautiful fresh hot-pink color!  So pretty!

in a jar

Now that your onions are chilling, prepare the sauce–it’s essentially the same as for sofritas.  The sauce can be made ahead of time.  You’ll need:

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1-2 TBSP tomato paste
  • NOTE-ignore the tofu, I recycled the pic from the sofritas post!  🙂

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir in the tomato paste.  Set aside.

add tomato paste

Now for the tacos!  You’ll need:

ingredients tacos

  • pickled red onions (see recipe above)
  • prepared sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 (14 0z) package extra firm tofu–always choose organic tofu to avoid GMOs
  • prepared guacamole–buy it or make it yourself.  Mine is simple–avocado, garlic powder, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
  • corn tortillas
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges

Drain and then press the tofu by placing it on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

Let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes (up to 30 minutes) and then cut into cubes, by cutting through the side and then cutting long sticks.  Finally cut the sticks into cubes.  The cubes will be about 1/2 inch on a side.

cube tofu

Spray a fry pan with oil and place over medium high heat.  Add tofu cubes and fry, stirring occasionally to brown on all sides–or as many as you can get.  Don’t worry about getting every cube perfectly browned.  🙂

fry tofu

Reduce heat to low and add enough sauce to coat the tofu–about half of the sauce.

add sauce

Stir to coat.  Now it’s time to put the tacos together!

stir to coat

 

Warm the tortillas inside a kitchen towel in a microwave or however you like to warm them.  Place a bit of lettuce, then tofu cubes, then a bit of guacamole, then pickled onions and finally a sprinkle of cilantro.  Look at them!  Like art!

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Squeeze a lime over the top, pick one up and have your first wondrous bite.  Oh my.

Both the sauce and the onions can be made ahead to speed up the tacos when you’re ready to make them.  Is this my new favorite way to eat tofu?  Yessssssss!  Mmmmmmmmmm-yummy!

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Filed under dinner, lunch, recipe, restaurants, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Last week before a Rockies game, we stopped into Prost, a Denver brewery specializing in German-style beers, or rather, biers.  We had lunch from the food truck parked outside.  I selected black bean and sweet potato tacos from the menu; yum-yum-yummy!  I just had to come home and try to make them, even though Michael is no big fan of the sweet potato.  I think they came out pretty close, if not even more yummy, due to the home grown tomatoes, green onion and cilantro topping them.  🙂

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These are super fast, super easy-peasy, and perfect for company no matter how they prefer to get their protein.

ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet potato, baked and diced (I baked mine in the microwave)
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • corn tortillas
  • lettuce, shredded
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • avocado, sliced
  • green onion, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Pierce the skin of the sweet potato and bake until done.  This took a bit over 4 minutes in my microwave; remember microwave power varies.  As soon as it becomes cool enough to work with it, peel and cut into 1/4 inch dice.

peel and dice sweet potato

In a pan, saute the garlic in a bit of veggie broth.  Cook until it starts to become golden and aromatic.

saute garlic

Add beans and green chiles to the pan, followed by sweet potato, cumin, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

heat black beans and green chile

Warm tortillas in the microwave, wrapped in a clean kitchen towel or tortilla warmer.  Prepare your toppings.

assemble toppings

Assemble tacos with the black bean mixture, green onions, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, and lettuce.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over the tops.

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Enjoy with a bit of salsa if you like (Michael loves hot sauce on these), and a margarita or two!

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So how did the “Not a Big Fan of Sweet Potatoes” like them?  Michael sez, “Yum!” They were yummy the next night as some of the best leftovers ever.  You’ll get about 12 regular-sized tacos from this recipe.  I’m thinking they would make luscious little appetizers made with tiny corn tortillas.  The filling would also be spectacular rolled into corn tortillas and baked as enchiladas.  Oh yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Middle Eastern Feast

Fattoush, Falafel and Hummus!  Oh my!  Oh yummy!

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I bought garbanzo flour a while ago for some reason…don’t remember what the original plan was, but since, I’ve used it in spicy black bean burgers (yum!) and when I did, noticed a recipe for falafel on the side of the package.  Then I found a recipe for fattoush, a chopped Middle Eastern salad, in a magazine.  I always have chick peas in the pantry, so a feast was hatched!

the feast

The ingredient list is somewhat lengthy, but has everything you need for the entire fattoush, falafel and hummus feast:

ingredients

For the Fattoush:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 TBSP white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 sp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 cups chopped romaine ( I used baby greens from my garden)
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

For the Falafel:

  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes (or 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp round coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hot water

For the Hummus:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained, reserve the liquid from one can
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp chili powder ( I used chipotle powder for the heat and the smokiness)

For serving:

  • pita breads, warmed

Start with the salad.  Place the greens in a large bowl.  Prepare the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint; add them to the greens and toss.  Whisk the dressing together in a pourable container like a measuring cup: olive oil, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Set aside to dress just before serving.

set salad and dressing aside

Now the falafel patties.  Mix the dry ingredients (garbanzo flour, salt, baking soda, cumin, coriander, garlic and onion powders) in a medium bowl.

mix dry ingredients

Add lemon juice and hot water, stir until combined and let rest for 10 minutes.

add wet and let rest

While the batter rests, make the hummus.  Combine all the ingredients (garbanzos, garlic, lemon juice, chili powder) in a food processor except the bean liquid.  Process until smooth, add enough bean liquid to achieve the texture you like, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a bowl, garnish with chopped parsley and set aside.

hummus

Back to the falafel.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Drop batter by tablespoons into the pan and flatten slightly.  Work in batches–the pan I used was big enough to only have two batches–about 14 patties total.

drop by tbsp and flatten

I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop–makes this process even easier!

use a cokie scoop

Turn, cooking each side to a pretty golden brown.

fry til golden on both sides

Heat pitas in the microwave, toaster, or grill them (yummy!).  Cut into wedges.

Dress the fattoush and assemble the rest of the feast.

the feast

Eat each thing separately, or dip the pita wedges in the hummus, or open the wedges and spread with hummus, adding a falafel patty and make little sandwiches….or any combination.  Go with your yum.

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I cut the salad ingredients in half and ended up using only part of the halved dressing.  Flavor the hummus to your liking–wasabi (thanks, Chris!) is awesome, smoked paprika gives a milder heat, roasted red pepper is classic.

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, salad, Vegetarian

A Sandwich Named Lexi

My college-student son shared his favorite coffee shop, Margie’s Blue Mug, with us on one of our visits.  Besides coffee, Margie’s offers a variety of breakfast and lunch items.  One of those is my new favorite sandwich; the only sandwich I want to eat right now: The Lexi.

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I get it vegetarian/vegan, without the cream cheese and sliced turkey it usually comes with.  My son says it’s spectacular with those things, so if you’re not vegan, I’m sure he’d recommend you add those in to the somewhat quirky ingredients:

the stuff

For one sandwich

  • 1 whole wheat bagel (or bagel of your choice)
  • 1-2 TBSP prepared basil pesto (get or make pesto without Parmesan to be vegan)
  • 1-2 TBSP apricot jam (I used peach today)
  • sliced tomatoes (I used 4 slices from a roma tomato)
  • sliced red onion (I used one thin slice, separated into rings)
  • lettuce (Margie’s uses a greens mix, I had romaine)

Spread pesto on one side of the bagel, and jam on the other.  YES!  This is the quirky part, but what a combo!  These two condiments MAKE the sandwich.  They’re what make me want to make a Lexi for every meal.  Even breakfast.

spread jam and pesto

Put the lettuce, onion and tomato on the bottom half, top it with the lid of the bagel and there you are!  The Lexi!

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WARNING– this sandwich disappears in a hurry.  One second you have a whole bagel sandwich, the next second you have a plate with a crumb or two on it.  Yup.  It’s THAT yummy.

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, restaurants, Vegetarian

Vegan Enchiladas

Today I was scrounging around for lunch and found a bunch of related leftovers: a bit of Spanish rice, a cup or so of cooked plain rice, half a lentil burger, less than a serving of black bean soup, a tiny bit of sauteed onions, mushrooms and green chiles.  I grabbed a couple tortillas, combined all the little bits of this and that and thought I’d whip up a couple burritoes.  As the mixture was heating in the microwave, something said enchiladas.  A clear picture of enchiladas appeared in my head.  I stopped the microwave, we had leftover “turkey” burgers for lunch instead and enchiladas for dinner!

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So scrounge around in your fridge for leftovers or make some beans and rice and you’re well on your way!

ingredients

  • 2 cups (or so) filling:  beans, rice, tomatoes, peppers, corn…..
  • 8 corn tortillas

For the enchilada sauce: (based on a recipe from The Happy Herbivore)

  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder and my sauce was HOT!  You may want to start with one TBSP and add more if you want it hotter!)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups No Chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 TBSP tomato paste
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F and spray an enchilada or other baking pan large enough to hold 8 enchiladas.  Set aside filling and tortillas for now.

Whisk flour, cocoa and spices in a pan without turning on the heat.

dry ingredients in pan

Add 1/4 cup of broth and whisk into a smooth paste.

whisk into a paste

Slowly whisk in the rest of the broth and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and add tomato paste.

add broth

Reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce has the thickness of tomato soup.  Remove from heat and add salt if needed.

add tomato paste

Set up an assembly line for your enchiladas with the sauce, tortillas, filling and  pan.  I also included leftover “cheesy sauce.”

set up assembly

Dip each tortilla in sauce, place in the pan and roll.  Place edges down.

dip in sauce stuff and roll

Continue rolling until you run out of filling.  Spoon a bit more enchilada sauce over the tops, making sure tortillas are sauced all the way to the edges of the pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

spoon additional sauce

While enchiladas bake (they smell sooooo yummy!), dice a tomato, shred some lettuce, chop a few scallions and tear up some cilantro.  Serve up a couple enchiladas with a schmear of cheesy sauce, and topped with the tomato, lettuce, scallions and cilantro.

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OMG my sauce was HOT!  It was well flavored and super-yummy, but wow.  It was perfect for Michael, lover of all things hot-hot-hot, but for me, I’m cutting back on the chili powder or using a milder chili powder next time.  Leave it alone if you’re in the hot camp with Michael.  🙂

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian